• What is a Partner In Education (PIE)?

    Columbia Public Schools Partner In Education LogoThe Partners In Education (PIE) program officially began in the fall of 1984 with eleven charter partnerships. Today, the program has more than 150 partnerships. Since its inception, Partners In Education has drawn upon the vitality and enthusiasm of each participant. The program does not look for financial support for schools; rather, it enriches educational programs by tapping the human resources available in the community. A school day does not go by without meaningful Partners In Education activities enriching our district's curriculum.

    Partners In Education joins a local business/community organization with an individual school, curriculum department, or grade level. Each partnership is designed to be a long-term commitment. Each partnership identifies a PIE steering committee consisting of both school and business personnel. The steering committee meets monthly or quarterly and directs partnership activities. In addition, each partnership establishes a mission statement, objectives, and activities. Partnership activities include but are not limited to:

    • Satellite classrooms located within businesses
    • Career exploration fairs
    • Job shadowing and business tours
    • Classroom presentations
    • Performances at businesses
    • Banks within schools
    • Mock trials
    • Staff development for teachers
    • Mentoring
    • Celebrity guest reader volunteers
    • School carnival/ 5K walk-run, and special event volunteers
    • Student-athletes service projects
    • Junior Achievement (early financial literacy, entrepreneurial, career exploration, workforce development) volunteers

    The overall goal of Columbia's Partners In Education program is to build bridges between the world of business and the world of education. The program serves a five-fold purpose:

    1. To foster a better understanding of the public school system within the Columbia community;
    2. To strengthen and enhance the district's programs;
    3. To create a climate of involvement and interaction between organizations, businesses, and schools;
    4. To provide students opportunities to develop attitudes and skills that enhance their success in the world of work;
    5. To work with the Columbia School Improvement Plan (CSIP)

    Success is what Partners In Education is all about. The goal is success for every student, every partner, and the Columbia community.

    What is a Partnership Friend?

    A Partnership Friend is a person(s), community organization, or business that makes a yearly significant contribution, i.e., time, services, products, etc., to an individual school, department, or classroom.

    The program began in 1992 with three Partnership Friends. Today, the program includes over 100 Partnership Friends. Examples of Partnership Friend contributions include but are not limited to:

    • Newsletter space to highlight students' work
    • Donations for annual Back-to-School events
    • Staff appreciation donations, cards, and coupons
    • Coupons for student incentive programs
    • Achievement certificates for students
    • Meeting space for district personnel
    • Books for classroom libraries and media centers
    • Volunteers at school events

    Become a Partner in Education

    10-Step Checklist to Becoming a Partner In Education: 

    1. Contact our Community Relations Department to get started.
    2. Designate a Partner In Education (PIE) contact person & a few people to serve on a Steering Committee.
    3. Meet with the full PIE Steering Committee & Community Relations Manager to discuss initial activities, which include:
      • Organizing a get-acquainted activity with your school partner
      • Developing a mission statement
      • Developing objectives
      • conducting a needs assessment and a resource assessment
    4. Meet monthly with the entire Steering Committee to plan activities and identify student achievement goals you will address.
    5. Appoint a Steering Committee member to serve as a recorder. This recorder will take monthly minutes and disseminate them to school contacts, business employees, and the PIE office. The recorder should also be responsible for maintaining records for the annual report. The report should contain the following:
      • Contact information of business partners and school staff completing the report
      • Partnership mission to improve students' performance
      • Partnership school year goals
      • A brief description of each activity
      • The identification of achievement goals
    6. Appoint a steering committee member responsible for relaying public relations information to the PIE office, local media, and school newspaper.
    7. Promote the Partners In Education program in your business. Some examples include requests for input, letters in paychecks, letters sent to homes, posters in offices and hallways, bulletin board displays, etc.
    8. Coordinate employee volunteer release time, if possible. Arrange for all employees who agree to participate to attend an orientation session at the partner school. The building principal or staff member will conduct this training.
    9. Complete a Business Profile and Partnership Report Form and submit it to the Community Relations Department.
    10. Plan a partnership kickoff event with the Community Relations office's support to celebrate the partnership's formation!